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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

X-amining X-Men #264

"Hot Pursuit"
Late July 1990

In a Nutshell 
The Genoshans launch another attempt to retrieve Jenny Ransome & Phillip Moreau. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Mike Collins
Inker:Josef Rubinstein
Letterer: Clem Robbins
Colorist: Nel Yomtov
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
On the run from a team of Genoshan magistrates, Forge is hit by a police car containing Charlotte Jones and her partner, Murph. When the magistrates appear and Murph draws his weapon, they gun him down, destroying the car as Forge and Charlotte escape into the sewers, where Forge gives her a spare X-Men uniform for protection. Meanwhile, Val Cooper meets with Colonel Vazhin, who warns her he's traced the Shadow King to America, and that he may end up targeting her. In Manhattan, Jean Grey returns to Ship, while Forge and Charlotte fight their way through the sewers, defeating a group of magistrates before emerging back onto the street. At Ship, where Phillip Moreau and Jenny Ransome, along with Peter Nicholas, Callisto and Banshee, have gathered, Wipeout uses his power to disrupt Ship's functions, allowing Pipeline to transmit the Press Gang and a group of magistrates inside.


Insisting they're only after Genoshan property and a Genoshan fugitive, they attack the mutants, ultimately overpowering everyone but Beast. Outside, Forge and Charlotte reach Ship and spot Wipeout. As Beast counterattacks inside, Forge and Charlotte capture Wipeout, bringing an angry Ship back online, who easily subdues the Genoshans inside. However, the authorities are forced to release the Genoshans on extradition orders from the government, much to Charlotte's dismay. Beast does leak news of the Genoshans actions to the press, however, but Phillip and Jenny decide to leave regardless, as they're the one whose presence endangers their friends and they can't effectively lead a human rights campaign while hiding. As Banshee and Forge decide to stay with X-Factor, Peter and Callisto announce their return to Soho. Though Jean says they'll need Colossus, Banshee insists he's finally found his heart's desire, and earned his happy ending.

Firsts and Other Notables
This marks the end of Colossus' (as Peter Nicholas) involvement in the book for awhile, as Forge and Banshee agree to leave him be and not try to jog his memory about his true identity, letting him return to Soho with the still-beautiful Callisto. He will pop up in a couple Web of Spider-Man issues next, but we won't see him again until issue #279, while Callisto won't appear again until #291.


The Genoshans, including members of the Press Gang and another squad of magistrates, pop up again, still trying to reclaim Jenny Ransome and Phillip Moreau. This marks their final effort to that end before "X-Tinction Agenda", which features the Genoshans coming after the X-teams in force, once and for all.

Officer Charlotte Jones from X-Factor guest stars in this issue, teaming up with Forge to escape the Genoshan Magistrates who killed her partner when they got in the way of the Genoshans' pursuit of Forge.


She is joined by Jean Grey, Beast, and Ship, where Forge, Banshee, Peter Nicholas and Callisto convene following the events of last issue. Banshee and Forge decide to pool their resources with X-Factor, working together in their quest to find the missing X-Men (they seem to have forgotten their previous desire to go to LA and get Dazzler), though in practice it pretty much just means Banshee and Forge popping in the next couple X-Factor issues and being on hand for "Days of Future Present" before "X-Tinction Agenda" pulls all the disparate narrative threads together and reunites everyone.


Following up their conversation from last issue, Colonel Vazhin and Val Cooper meet again, with Vazhin explicitly stating that the Shadow King is one of the factions he mentioned last issue, and gives us an explanation for his name (given here for the first time outside of Excalibur #22, when he was called the Shadow King of the Hellfire Club in that issue's alternate reality). He warns Val that as the head of mutan affairs in America, she may be a target of the Shadow King, which is setup for the next phase of the larger Shadow King story and the next story arc of the book.


Creator Central
Mike Collins, who penciled the two Cyclops-centric backup stories in Classic X-Men #41-42, enters the Uncanny X-Men revolving door of artists with this issue; he'll be back for issue #266 as well.

Contributing to the overall "fill-in" feel of this stretch of issues, both longstanding letterer and colorist Tom Orzechowski and Glynis Oliver are absent from this issue. One or the other has occasionally missed an issue or two here or there since their respective runs on the series began, but it's rare that both miss the same issue. 

Another Jim Lee cover, including a Lee-drawn Forge in the corner cover box that I believe popped up in various places around this time (I remember seeing it in Marvel Age, at least).

The Chronology Corner
Marvel Girl, Beast and Charlotte Jones all appear here during the events of X-Factor #56.

A Work in Progress
It's established that Forge helped design Iron Fist's girlfriend and Jean Grey's former roommate Misty Knight's bionic arm.


It's established that Ship in skyscraper form is tall enough that he occasionally rises above weather systems.


Jean's return to Ship, shown in X-Factor #56, is repeated here, though it doesn't quite lineup, as in this issue she's still sporting the sleeveless X-Men uniform as a result of her tentacles, whereas when in X-Factor she was wearing (presumably) a new uniform with regular sleeves.


The Genoshans have an official term for their perceived right to go after their property anywhere they please, the Hot Pursuit Doctrine. 


The Reference Section
Forge possibly makes a reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.


Build Up Your Vocabulary With Beast: Perspicacious
\ˌpər-spə-ˈkā-shəs\. Adjective. Of acute mental vision or discernment. 


Human/Mutant Relations
Jean worries that X-Factor living sequestered in Ship, where no humans can enter, isn't helping human/mutant relations much.


Teebore's Take
As much any issue can be in this run of nebulous storylines, this is a transition issue, wrapping up the Peter Nicholas/Callisto/Morlock story while setting up the subsequent return to the Storm/Shadow King plot, and "X-Tinction Agenda" beyond that. In that way, it's probably the best of the pre-Jim Lee non-team issues, in that Claremont continues to excel at table-setting done-in-ones, even if the pieces he's putting on the table aren't, individually, all that great.

This issue is also representative of this era's renewed interconnectedness between the X-titles (or, at least, the three "main" ones). X-Factor and New Mutants have already quietly swapped characters and storylines between them, which makes sense, given their shared writer. But after bringing Jean Grey over for two issues (and not really doing much with her), Claremont has even more fun with sharing here, writing an A-plot in which X-Factor's Charlotte Jones is essentially the co-star, and taking the logical step of having Forge and Banshee pool resources with X-Factor to find the X-Men, thus setting up their subsequent appearances over in X-Factor and the story in the upcoming annuals.

Like a lot of stuff from this era, the whole "Banshee and Forge search for the X-Men" subplot ultimately fizzles (the X-Men will be reunited, but Banshee and Forge don't do a whole lot to that end), but it makes so much sense for them to work with X-Factor to that end that it's nice to see the idea acknowledged. Plus, it's always fun to see Claremont take a shine to another writer's creation, as he clearly does here with Charlotte Jones. With all the X-teams scattered pretty much since "Inferno" (and with "Inferno" only briefly bringing them together after another long time apart), it's felt like ages since the three main series shared this level of interconnectedness, and while the various narrative threads of Uncanny X-Men remain scattered and are entertaining to highly variable degrees, returning to that interconnectedness is one of the highlights of this era.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, the "Cross Time Caper" finally, mercifully, ends in Excalibur #24, and Friday, Wolverine learns a lesson in peace in Wolverine #26. Next week, "Days of Future Present" begins in Fantastic Four Annual #23.

Collected Editions

35 comments:

  1. I think this is one of the better issues from this era. The art isn't flashy, but it is serviceable and not ugly to look at, and I like the sequence where Beast takes down the two Genoshans searching for him. The character work is good, the action is nice, and the plot moves along somewhat. Had the artwork been done by a bigger name, I think it would be remembered much more fondly.

    It does seem like this issue is where CC either loses interest and/or puts aside the whole "Banshee and Forge search for the X-men story" (the only 2 members they end up finding are ones they aren't even actively looking for like Dazzler, they just stumble onto Colossus and Storm later more by accident/coincidence than anything else). It does seem like he is starting to build up to Mutant Wars/X-tinction Agenda and the Shadow King story arc. Was his dropping of the search storyline deliberate or juggling too many balls and losing track of some?

    Speaking of the Shadow King...while not a retcon, it does seem like CC is building him up to be something more than we had previously seen. The ultimate power broker? He was always previously seen as an entity which enjoyed the darker, hedonistic side of life. Gluttony (no coincidence that both Farouk and Karma were on the chunkier side of life), bondage, mutant gladiatorial games that catered to the rich, etc. I guess if he was wanting to build up to a huge final confrontation with the SK in #300, better to have him to an uber villain of sorts...

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  2. Philip Moreau is able to enter Ship, despite not being a mutant.
    Jean being knocked out by a tranquilizer dart was lame. If she can deflect bullets with little warning, she should also be able to defect tranquilizer darts. It would have worked better if the goon had snuck up behind Jean.
    The Genoshans remark that Callisto's moves are nice if you're striking poses but not much use in a real fight. Why? She should still retain her fighting knowledge, at least.

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  3. The Genoshans have an official term for their perceived right to go after their property anywhere they please, the Hot Pursuit Doctrine.

    When you're chasing your delinquents eastbound & down, and it's getting kind of personal, and the other law enforcers start giving you lip of your lacking jurisdiction, that's a classic thing to say into your CB radio to shut them up. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY makes Chief Magistrate Tamara "Tam" Anderson look like a possum's pecker!

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  4. This issue finally (3 mediocre ones felt like a while) gets the series rolling again. It is fast paced and sets the table for the Annuals and X-Tinction Agenda. I agree with WWK5D that if it had a better/bigger name artist, people would think different about it.

    Regarding the "dropped" subplot of Banshee and Forge looking for the X-Men, I don't think it is as bad as people make out. Its been what, 6 issues since they left Muir Isle to start the search. By this point they have already found Colossus and Callisto and linked up with X-Factor. New York was an obvious stopping point on their way from Europe. We don't see them phone Dazzler to check in and hear that she is all about the movie biz now, but so what.

    When the Annuals roll around they will touch base with the New Mutants and link back up with Storm, probably the only one Forge cares about anyways. Then X-Tinction brings everyone else around besides Rogue. Thats like 12 issues, pretty good for Claremont. The Phoenix saga lasted 30 or so, including a 10 issue arc of missing X-Men (or teams believing the others are dead), the Brood/Starjammers one was like 14, and the Marauders took 30 issues to get wiped out off panel.

    In fact, if editorial hadn't stepped in with some crossovers, things could have taken even longer while Claremont introduced some more D list characters and spun his wheels with Shadow King is everywhere tie-ins.

    Claremont is by far the best the X-Men ever had, but some of the best things he did came about with a bit of a push from others, whether artists, collaborators or editorial.

    With that in mind, seeing how the pieces come back together is pretty cool. And of course, shit happens, so you can't expect Forgshee to spend every moment searching for X-Men, mopey Masques and gun-toting Genoshans tend to get in your way.

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  5. "We don't see them phone Dazzler to check in and hear that she is all about the movie biz now, but so what."

    We don't see them doing that because they never did. In # 273, Jean mentions Dazzler (along with Longshot, but not Rogue) is still "missing". Yes, we don't have to see it, but some lip service would be good. Plus, wouldn't Banshee, Forge, or Jean be the slightest bit curious as to what the hell happened to the X-men? I mean, the last time Jean saw them, they were a team. Shouldn't red flags be going up that they now know of 2 members who aren't where they are supposed to be, who aren't together, and one of them has amnesia?

    If anything, the whole search-for-the-X-men story is almost a preview of one of CC's later annoying habits, setting up an interesting idea (searching for the X-men, searching for Destiny's diaries, the XSE in our era, etc) with little or no real follow through.

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  6. "The Genoshans have an official term for their perceived right to go after their property anywhere they please, the Hot Pursuit Doctrine."

    Despite being a life-long X-Men fan with South African background, it was only after my big Claremont read-thru that I realized Genosha's metaphor for Apartheid South Africa.

    This doctrine of 'Hot Pursuit' is definitely based on the South African military's habit of crossing international borders to pursue enemies of the state.

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  7. James: This doctrine of 'Hot Pursuit' is definitely based on the South African military's habit of crossing international borders to pursue enemies of the state.

    Nah, it's a long pre-existing thing, "long formed a part of English common law" according to the Wikipedia article. In my previous comment I was trying veiledly to allude to a classic 70's film where a gentleman representing the law enforcement forces explicitly carries a "hot pursuit" through several states after another gentleman in a black Trans Am.

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  8. @wwk5d

    Yeah, I was just spitballing there. A quick mention or check in would have been nice. Jean was probably too wrapped up in relationship issues to care, although she probably did want to know where the Wolvster was to crush Cyclops a bit.

    My main point was that it was not a completely "dropped" plot or as bad as people make out. People really hammer this era, but look at all the other times throughout Claremont's run where teams and characters are apart and writer's pay no attention to this. Supporting characters would constantly just disappear from X-Men. After FF vs. X-Men nobody ever wrote a letter to Kitty, or sent a six-pack to Kurt. The other teams didn't really care about the New Mutants or bothered to check in and see how Magneto was getting on as head-master.

    And I do like how things end up coming together. Storm breaking into the Underground Mansion to let people know that Franklin is dead is sweet. Wolvie and Co. turning up in Genosha to bust some heads is very cool. IMO, these are way better moments than Forge showing up last second with a Nanny blaster weapon, saving the day and warmly embracing an adolescent Storm.

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  9. Maybe, but you'd think she'd want to know what could have possibly happened to her BFF. Or Cyclops wanting to know what happened to his brother, at least.

    After FF vs. X-men, its a few months and then FOTM happen, so it wasn't like the X-men could contact anyone, Kurt, Kitty, or whoever. They had to ignore the New Mutants and Magneto. And much like the X-men and X-factor had to be kept apart until the Maddie situation could be resolved during Inferno, X-factor had to stay away from the New Mutants for the same reason.

    X-factor and the New Mutants begin interacting more, interestingly, once Infernow is over, and Simonson does try setting up a status quo with both teams. However, she sabotages that status quo twice. First, she sends both teams on months-long story arcs off world, then later has the New Mutants leave and join Cable as soon as they are reunited. In both cases, there is at least an on story reason for the status quo to end, and are addressed enough within the titles themselves.

    In Uncanny, we don't get much besides a shrug and "oh well", onto the next story arc. The only people Banshee and Forge find, they find by coincidence or just luckily meet up in a crossover. If CC was going to have B&F reunite with the X-men by more or less running into them by accident, he could have just avoided the whole "Lets go find the X-men we now know they're alive" story and just had them hope on a plane to NYC to meet Jean for just for old time's sake (well, for Banshee anyway, Forge could have just tagged along for shits and giggles). And at least for Banshee to have a bigger "Oh me God, Jean, lass, yuir alive! Yuir nae dead! Saints be praised!".

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  10. Ok, that might have been more Scottish than Irish...

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  11. For a world where post-Claremont Roberto speaks Spanish, you're doing just fine, wwk5d.

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  12. I’m sorry to disagree with how Claremont excels at this kind of transition issue, Teebore — at least by this point, as evidenced by this actual issue. Not that the rest of the creative team helps any by making the weak scenarios look good.

    // On the run from a team of Genoshan magistrates //

    Y'know, I assumed they were Harriers in the early pages, not having remembered that their introduction was a feint by Wolverine until writing this comment. We don’t even find out why the Press Gang is after Forge until Pg. 16 (of 23). There are Marauders, Harriers, and Genoshan magistrates running around gunning for mutants at this point and none of them have enough personality to matter.

    // Forge is hit by a police car containing Charlotte Jones and her partner //

    It’s a small world. Too small, really: Here we thought it was coincidence that she bumped into Archangel in X-Factor #56! Jones’ presentation in that issue doesn’t really reflect that she went through the events of this one during that one, either.

    So much more could and I think should be, or have been, done with this old-school crossover of X-Factor with Forge and, especially, Banshee — a crossover in the way the term originated, where you get one series’ characters and elements appearing in another’s outside of the interchanging successive issues based around something like Inferno. Banshee really teaming with X-Factor would be a neat nod to his introduction in the original run long before he became part of the All-New, All-Different team, were the grouping intentional. Which makes me think of the other pre-New new or auxiliary X-Men, namely Havok and Polaris (okay, and Mimic). So why isn’t Scott trying to track down his brother now that he knows Alex is alive, unless the others don’t mention Peter’s amnesiac condition to him or don’t make any leap between Dazzler and Colossus turning up back in the States with the possibility that something happened to the rest of the Outback team?

    Plus, I know Forge has probably read all the X-Men’s files (on his own time or on Muir Island), so he may be both prepared for how much Jean resembles Maddie and aware that it might be a bad idea to bring that up, but he wasn’t actually involved with the Inferno stuff and I’ve missed any indication that seeing Jean herself freaks him out.

    // returning to that interconnectedness is one of the highlights of this era //

    It should be. Yet all I really feel is Uncanny being dragged down to the level of mediocrity of X-Factor and New Mutants during an era I’m not predisposed to care about in the first place. I completely grant that my oft-stated avoidance of this material at the time and the resultant unfamiliarity with it means I lack any nostalgia for it, as well as that nobody really expects this material to hold up completely as-is for new readers today. As long as I'm finally reading it, though, I gotta wish it were better.

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  13. I think, at this point, nobody is surprised when someone supposedly dead shows back up. Maybe Claremont recognized this and decided to forgo all the emotional hand-waving.

    Cyclops, Jean, Forge, Banshee and the crew don't even know anything about the Siege Perilous. Forge and Banshee think the X-Men are dead from FoTM, Lorna and X-Factor tells them are alive. For all they know, Colossus just showed up in New York and got brainwashed or something and Dazzler finally skipped out on the X-Men to get back into showbiz.

    We had 20+ issues of radio silence between brothers during X-Factor's mutant hunting days and another seven after Inferno where stuff went horribly wrong for the X-Men and they didn't Complex Computer Skype each other. Why do they have to pick up the phone now or its a dropped plot?

    It was 10 issues between the last time we see Kitty and Kurt in the pages of Uncanny and FoTM, that's basically the entirety of the FB look for lost X-Men plot.

    Its actually pretty classic that all the reasons the teams were apart at these different times were based on editorial mandate and contrived plot points. The reason we get the team reassembled and this plot point barely referenced in story is editorial mandate.

    Banshee and Forge looking under (Ayers) rocks for the X-Men could have been fun, but the way it happened is fine with me and I don't think much more needed to be said about it, after all, they did find pretty much every X-Men soon enough, even if by coincidence (which comics are built on).

    To the heart of the issue, by this time there were so many characters Claremont had to keep track of you can understand the seems coming apart a bit, not to mention more editorial interference. Even in his heyday, after Byrne was gone and the universe expanded to New Mutants, Claremont couldn't keep up. There were constant letters regarding what happened to so and so character we haven't seen.

    To pick and choose what stories are blasted because of plot danglers or limited in-story explanations is a bit unfair, it happened in all of them. This era bears the brunt of it, and somewhat rightly so as it is more pronounced, but what we end up getting is pretty cool. Also, we don't know how it would have turned out if CC had stayed on, so the problems are compacted and we don't get the resolution that other stories and plot danglers were allowed.

    No other era had this much change, in 30 issues we get a team completely blown up, a non-team lineup, a new lineup and a new/old lineup. That is some pretty dynamic storytelling.

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  14. But them following a "for all they know" attitude is rather ridiculous and somewhat out of character. Especially since the two teams parted on relatively decent terms once Inferno ended, and X-factor knew the X-men were alive. At the very least, they should be mildly curious as to why Colossus and Dazzler have left the team. And if Peter is brainwashed, wouldn't they also be curious as to why, who did it, has it happened to the others, are the others looking for Peter, is Dazzler also brainwashed, etc. Shrugging their shoulders at this revelation about Peter is just lame.

    It's a dropped plot because, well, that's exactly what happened. Banshee and Forge make a big deal about going out and searching for the X-men and then they just...stop. For no real reason. Now it is possible this was all editorially mandated, to begin lining things up for Mutant Wars/X-tinction Agenda/Shadow King/etc, but again, it is just disappointing more than anything, and ends up becoming something of a waste of panel space.

    "It was 10 issues between the last time we see Kitty and Kurt in the pages of Uncanny and FoTM, that's basically the entirety of the FB look for lost X-Men plot."

    Well, Kurt was a in coma during that time, and Kitty was featured in X-men vs FF. I'm not really sure what the point of that 10 issue comparison is...?

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  15. I agree there definitely could have been a bit more in-story explanation about what was going on. Fiction often requires the reader to fill-in the blanks though, so its not really all that detrimental to the story that we don't see on-panel phone calls or thought balloons over what happened as far as I am concerned. This is certainly not the first time during CC's run that we are left thinking about how things progressed.

    The Kitty/Kurt thing is another instance when this happened. Readers at the time were outraged that their favorite characters were just gone without an Uncanny mention, which never came.

    BF actually "find" most of the missing X-Men and get sidetracked by some bad actors, its not like they just "stop" and go home to join the opera and make weapons. It's hard to call that a "dropped" plot. This is all wrapped up in a short span, but I guess just wasn't done to the specifications of some of the fan base. It sucks that we don't get the story allowed to play out as planned, but we know that it would have been 50 issues and in true Claremontian fashion, might not have been resolved the way people wanted anyway.

    I enjoy these issues and seeing how things play out in a tapestry events that are influenced by factors outside the writer's control. It makes for an interesting story.

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  16. There is a difference between filling in the blanks and dropped plots that are abandoned for whatever the reason.

    What phone calls exactly happened on or off panel? Again, you can't assume these things, especially when future stories by the same author show they never happened, on or off panel.

    Kurt and Kitty were left recuperating at Muir Island, which again, is a resolution, not a dropped plot point, so it doesn't really apply. And their story at least continued on in another title.

    Banshee and Forge don't really find anyone. If anything, the Plot Contrivance Fairy was working overtime to bring some of the lost members together in time for a crossover. B&F joining with the X-men is the start of a new plot, not really a continuation of the an older plot (though technically, I guess they count as X-men as of the Muir Island X-men?).

    I'm not sure why CC just moves on from that story, especially since B&F came to the US initially to look for Dazzler. Then once they meet up with Jean and Colossus (again, more by comic book contrivance than anything else), they kind of forget that they were on their way to LA to begin with.

    But mileage varies for all of us, I suppose.

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  17. @wwk5d: Was his dropping of the search storyline deliberate or juggling too many balls and losing track of some?

    It's tough to say, because so much of what follows doesn't unfold the way Claremont intended, both in terms of "X-Tinction Agenda" subbing in for "Mutant Wars" and then leaving the series. Like, "X-Tinction Agenda" essentially ends B&F's plot since it reunites the X-Men, but it's not clear if "Mutant Wars" would have done the same, and/or that if it did, it would have occurred, publication time-wise, when "X-Tinction" did. So did he drop the plot, or did circumstances outside his control give it short shrift? Tough to say.

    I guess if he was wanting to build up to a huge final confrontation with the SK in #300, better to have him to an uber villain of sorts...

    Yeah, like you say, it's not really a retcon, but more of a fleshing out of a villain to give him a higher profile/make him more of a threat. It's definitely a change, but it's not an outrageous one.

    @Anonymous: Philip Moreau is able to enter Ship, despite not being a mutant.

    Huh. All these years, and that never hit me. That's definitely something you feel like editorial should have caught (I assume Claremont just didn't know/forgot that Ship only allows mutants inside).

    The Genoshans remark that Callisto's moves are nice if you're striking poses but not much use in a real fight. Why? She should still retain her fighting knowledge, at least.

    It's terribly unclear if she does retain her fighting knowledge. Model Callisto seemed at times brainwashed/amnesiac, so it's entirely possible she doesn't have that knowledge anymore.

    Conversely, if she does, the Genoshans comment could be a case of them underestimating her because she is model pretty, and we just never see the aftermath of their fight.

    @James: This doctrine of 'Hot Pursuit' is definitely based on the South African military's habit of crossing international borders to pursue enemies of the state.

    Ah, good to know. While Teemu is right that the general principle is bigger than South Africa, knowing that, I'm sure Claremont is thinking of South Africa when applying it here, since Genosha is so clearly an Apartheid metaphor.

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  18. @Blam: There are Marauders, Harriers, and Genoshan magistrates running around gunning for mutants at this point and none of them have enough personality to matter.

    Technically, the Marauders are out of the picture as of "Inferno" where they were pretty thoroughly trashed by the increasingly-demonic X-Men, and while they'll be back eventually (because comics) Claremont, at least, is done with them.

    The Harriers you can forget about. Theirs was a one-off appearance and we'll never see them again, anywhere, ever.

    So that just leaves the Genoshans who, despite having, in general, a pretty strong hook, definitely suffer from a lack of personality in that they are usually deployed in groups such that nobody really stands out as being distinct. "X-Tinction Agenda", at least for the duration of that storyline, tries to rectify that, to mixed results.

    There's also the Reavers (who may have been what you were thinking of when you said "Marauders, and you can be forgiven for making that mistake) who, yes, aren't terribly flush with personality either (though they make up for it a bit with some fairly unique looks). They are clearly still in play at this point as far as Claremont is concerned but (spoiler alert), while we'll see them again a few times before Claremont leaves, for all intents and purposes, they're as done at this point as the Marauders.

    Here we thought it was coincidence that she bumped into Archangel in X-Factor #56! Jones’ presentation in that issue doesn’t really reflect that she went through the events of this one during that one, either.

    She and her partner's jurisdiction is clearly the entirety of Manhattan. :)

    The whole "between pages" notation comes from my various index sources, and I believe that's the case simply because there's no other time to place these events due to the sequence of upcoming events, because you're absolutely right that there's no indication of Charlotte dealing with this stuff at any point in X-FACTOR.

    Banshee really teaming with X-Factor would be a neat nod to his introduction in the original run long before he became part of the All-New, All-Different team, were the grouping intentional.

    We'll get a little bit of that in the next couple X-FACTOR issues, but it definitely goes underdeveloped.

    Plus, I know Forge has probably read all the X-Men’s files (on his own time or on Muir Island), so he may be both prepared for how much Jean resembles Maddie and aware that it might be a bad idea to bring that up, but he wasn’t actually involved with the Inferno stuff and I’ve missed any indication that seeing Jean herself freaks him out.

    Yeah, much like how Banshee reacting to a living Jean (even if we reasonably assume he heard/was told about her resurrection off panel at some point) would have been nice, Forge reacting to Jean's resemblance to Maddie, a woman Forge carried around the guilt of believing he killed for awhile, at least, would have been nice too.

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  19. @Blam: Yet all I really feel is Uncanny being dragged down to the level of mediocrity of X-Factor and New Mutants during an era I’m not predisposed to care about in the first place.

    You're not necessarily wrong in that assessment. As I've said a few times, this era represents the nadir of Claremont's run for me, and while I might be tempted to give NEW MUTANTS and X-FACTOR of this era more credit (the latter for the work done with the supporting cast, the former because of Liefeld, whose work is at least evokes a reaction), it's harder to argue that UNCANNY of this time, more often than not, slips below the other two in my esteem.

    But while the series suffers from inconsistent art, scattershot plotting and a lack of a cohesive narrative, I do appreciate that we're getting a little of the old interconnectedness of the titles back, such that it makes for a bright spot, even if the median level is a bit dimmer than back in the day.

    (I feel like maybe that metaphor fell apart somewhere along the way...)

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  20. @Zephyr: To pick and choose what stories are blasted because of plot danglers or limited in-story explanations is a bit unfair, it happened in all of them. This era bears the brunt of it, and somewhat rightly so as it is more pronounced, but what we end up getting is pretty cool. Also, we don't know how it would have turned out if CC had stayed on, so the problems are compacted and we don't get the resolution that other stories and plot danglers were allowed.

    To each their own, and I certainly won't and don't want to begrudge anyone their favorite eras, as that's not a stone I can particularly hurl, given some of my favorite eras of the series are routinely mocked by fans and, objectively, not very good, so please don't read this as an attempt by me to change your mind so much as to make clear why, for me, at least, this stretch of issues comes up short relative to other eras which certainly share some of the same problems.

    For one, as I've said again and again, it suffers from both poor and inconsistent art. Strong art (not necessarily even good art, but strong art) covers for a lot, and for me, even less-good art that is still the same issue to issue, allowing for visual continuity in a series, is better than a rotating creative team. This stretch of issues has neither.

    For another, this era lacks any kind of central narrative beyond the vague non-plot of "there's no more X-Men", and yet, despite there not being much of a plot, Claremont seems too busy to slow down and allow for character moments. Intellectually, I can appreciate what Claremont is doing here: scatter the team, then spend a dozen or so issues threading it back together, moving plots from the background to the foreground every story arc (or issue). But critically, it doesn't work for me. A strong narrative arc, like strong art, helps smooth over a lot of the danglers and missed characters beats that, as you say, always happen. But when something ridiculous like the X-Men and X-Factor not talking to each circa "Mutant Massacre" is going on (and, let's be clear, that's a development as bad, if not worse, than anything happening in the book at this point in time), at least there's something like "Mutant Massacre" going on to distract readers' attention from it.

    Right now, all we have are these various dangling plotlines, and even when they do lead to characters coming together, Claremont is sidestepping the character beats that really make his work sing. Forge and Banshee head to America to find Dazzler, then decide not to, with no on-panel explanation why or even acknowledgementthat they did so. Banshee has no reaction to Jean being alive. Jean's return to UNCANNY is a ho-hum Morlock story that does nothing with her character being present. Forge has no reaction to a woman who looks just like someone he believed he killed. Colossus turns up alive but with no memory of his past, and everyone decides to let him live his life (which is fine) but doesn't even question, to themselves, at least, how he got that way and what it might mean for the rest of the X-Men for whom they're ostensibly searching?

    On their own, all of those moments can be handwaved away, and yeah, we can do a No Prize explanation for most of them, but Claremont used to be better at this stuff. He'd miss a few, yeah, but he had a higher average of hits. When the X-Men reunited with Beast after the Claremont/Byrne "World Tour" arc, Claremont made a point of including a few panels of Beast and the X-Men being overjoyed to discover the other was alive - he didn't have to, as readers we could have just assumed they had a jocular reunion off-panel, but he wrote it anyway. Given what happens in this stretch of issues, if 1990 Claremont had written that scene, he'd have skipped over any acknowledgement that either side had previously believed the other to be dead, and their emotions at discovering each other alive.

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  21. cont...

    Which leads to the final problematic element of this era, one that isn't entirely Claremont's fault: as you've pointed out, we're quickly reaching the end of the line as far as Claremont's plots are concerned, so it's a bit like all the dreck that's floated down the river is suddenly piling up at the dam. So whereas Claremont always had a few danglers here and there, now they're just piling up, because we're at a point where we know they won't get dealt with (or dealt with well). Which, yeah, not Claremont's fault, but still, it's a problem when reading these issues.

    And along those lines, because there's so much going on, even Claremont seems to be losing the threads a bit, which makes it harder to do those much-appreciated character bits. Banshee and Forge think the X-Men are dead because of "Fall of the Mutants", yet Jean tells them they're alive because she knows better thanks to "Inferno". Yet they're both kinda wrong, in that the X-Men died (sort of) when they entered the Siege Perilous (except for Wolverine). So B & F are looking for "alive after all X-Men" thanks to Jean, not realizing most of them have already experienced a second death of sorts that has left them unlike when Jean last saw them. So the end result is three different groups of characters thinking different things about the state of the others, and nobody is on the same page, so even when paths do intersect, it's impossible to write any kind of "you're alive!" moment because the whole thing is terribly complicated regarding who knows what and when they knew it and how. So Claremont, probably out of necessity, just sidesteps all that as much as possible, which is probably easier, but not as narratively satisfying.

    So while I appreciate what Claremont is doing in this era intellectually, and certainly don't begrudge him the desire to shake things up and try something different, the end result leaves me cold, due to poor and inconsistent art and the fact that character and the overall narrative, moreso than ever, seems to take a back seat to the structural experimentation. Had Claremont been given more time to play out the string, either before editorial and "X-Tinction" forced the team back together and eventually Claremont off the book, I might appreciate this run more. But I can only judge what we got, and what we got leaves me, personally, cold, relative to Claremont's other work on the series.

    But as others have said, to each his own. I certainly have a fondness for, objectively, much worse runs of the series, and it's not like this era is entirely devoid of merit. It just doesn't work as well for me as it does for you. >shrug<

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  22. Teebore: She and her partner's jurisdiction is clearly the entirety of Manhattan. :)

    They have been in Hot Pursuit, and need not worry about their jurisdiction. :)

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  23. @Zephyr: // I think, at this point, nobody is surprised when someone supposedly dead shows back up. Maybe Claremont recognized this and decided to forgo all the emotional hand-waving. //

    While I’m not sure this was in reply to my comment about Forge’s lack of freak-out over seeing Jean, I didn’t mean he should be surprised to see her alive — I mean, since he never met Jean or even Phoenix-as-Jean at all, period, he should be shocked over the resemblance to Maddie whether or not he even knows that Maddie ended up the Goblin Queen and that Jean has come back from the dead, etc. 'Cause of see below...

    @Zephyr: // To pick and choose what stories are blasted because of plot danglers or limited in-story explanations is a bit unfair //

    Kind-of, yeah. But the hugely eye-rolling disconnect of the so-called World Tour period, when for instance all Misty Knight had to do was mention Scott to Jean or vice versa, doesn’t excuse similar disconnects later. And it’s all context. Prime Claremont/Byrne[/Austin/Orz/Glynis] work makes one forgiving in a way that this stuff, for me, doesn’t, and like Teebore said the grace notes of characterization at which the storytellers excelled back then are sorely absent here.

    Jason Powell makes a compelling analysis and celebration of what Chris Claremont has been doing since #200, deconstructing the X-Men in-story (more than once) and the very notion of serial superhero comics writ large, yet on the whole it leaves me cold, part of which is probably just the vagaries of taste, part of which is connection or lack thereof to the material at the time it was published, and part of which more objectively I think is the way the book doesn’t quite live within its new status quo for long enough — first the Outback “ghost team” incarnation, now the post-Siege “non-team” stretch — for it to be properly established, let alone for its creative possibilities to be mined, before it gets blown up or, as is apparently happening in this period, derailed by marketing or editorial imperatives or even wayward creative impulses.

    Past eras really benefited from not just synergy between Claremont and his long-term penciler/co-plotter of the day but editorial oversight (in the positive sense, rather than the sad comedy of oversights apparent during this period) that worked to serve the story Claremont et al. wanted to tell. Archie Goodwin, Roger Stern, and Louise Jones, even if the latter two took sides to an extent in the Claremont/Byrne push-pull, all helped keep Claremont’s more sprawling tendencies in check.

    @Teebore: // who may have been what you were thinking of when you said "Marauders”, and you can be forgiven for making that mistake //

    Yes, I meant “Reavers” instead of “Marauders”. Sorry and thanks, again. Oy.

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  24. "Banshee has no reaction to Jean being alive."
    To be fair, what really confused the issue was the Retribution Affair story in Marvel Comics Presents. It obviously takes place after X-Factor 26 but before X-Men 253 and Scott interacts with Sean but it's not clear in that story whether or not Scott told Sean that Jean is alive.

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  25. @Teebore

    Solid points bud. You, Blam and wwk5d have responded well to my initial query regarding why this era gets crushed.

    @Blam

    That quote was actually posted right at the time you posted, so I didn’t see it till afterwards. Although somewhat relevant to your post, it was more me just being flippant/joking about the lack of comic book (permanent) death.

    See the following posts for responses and rebuttals to your points, tldr ☺

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  26. I think 261-263 is probably the worst three issue run in CC's time for all the reasons you guys mentioned, so I totally understand where you are coming from.

    Art definitely makes a big difference and you are right that there are some lackluster efforts and no consistency till 268. But wow, when Jim Lee comes back it is a forceful change and we get some pretty awesome stuff by, arguably, the best Uncanny artist. So it’s not all bad.

    Could the narrative that was produced have been serviced more in the book, yeah I think so and definitely have mentioned that throughout my posts. Contrasting it to other times though, I see a lot of the same that gets a pass for whatever reason, like @Teebore’s Mutant Massacre reference.

    Immediately after MM, we get two issues of Storm/Wolverine in the hills, then a couple of new team vs. Scotland, and a couple of more randoms before getting back to the narrative of the time, all impacted by new team members joining in a chronology so confusing nobody knew what fit where.

    These issues had better characterization I would say, but fans at the time were pissed and it still reads quite awkwardly given the circumstances. The Marauders plot is almost worse in that something that starts with such a bang and is followed up on and built into an entire era's theme fizzles out off panel with wonky clarification.

    There are plenty of other examples where the book lacked a real theme as well. There was no unifying theme from 151-167 except maybe Space! 176-199 wasn't particularly focused beyond some Beyonder stuff. The Outback era was predicated on striking at their enemies, which wasn't carried out all that well. These runs still had some really good comics come out of them, despite their lack of focus on a central narrative or just plain ignoring what was setup.

    Meanwhile, 264 is a decent piece of Forge action, then we get 265-267 showcasing a young Storm and new Gambit, with a Wolvie and then Rogue bit thrown in, so its not like what we got was devoid of substance.

    X-Tinction Agenda is the same editorially mandated type of crossover as MM that comes into distract, while actually bringing some plot threads together with some resolution, whether satisfying or not. I will get more into why I like it when we get there.

    I can't speak to your feelings, but I think a lot of what turns people off and makes them feel "cold" is that the characterization we do get doesn't pay off due to Claremont's looming departure. Wolvie is dying, Storm is young, and Gambit is cool stuff was leading up to something, presumably. We don't get a climax to these threads and I would say these are the greater travesties or actual dropped plots, in the case of Wolvie and Gambit, that are more egregious than the Banshee/Forge plot which is resolved, just not in the most traditional or straightforward way.

    That “cold” feeling probably also has a lot to do with the dramatic difference in character portrayal versus what we were used to at this point. Wolvie dying after years of built up macho factor is hard to stomach for fans. Storm going through another transformation is a bit forced. This change to the establishment is added to with a character no one really cares about with a deus ex machina power and one we haven’t seen for ages as key parts of a new team.

    There is not another time in CC’s run where we had no clue what was going to happen, who was going to show up and how things would get resolved. You can tell he was always pushing to get to this point, and when he does, it is a fleeting moment quickly cramped by a new creative collaborator and editorial interference. It is exactly this unfamiliarity and unpredictability that I personally find so compelling.

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  27. Continuing on…

    @Teebore says:
    On their own, all of those moments can be handwaved away, and yeah, we can do a No Prize explanation for most of them, but Claremont used to be better at this stuff.

    To play on this a bit, I randomly picked an issue (170) from CC’s highly praised “From the Ashes” arc. I don’t have the issue in front of me, so I read the Gentlemen of Leisure review. Some of the terrible, missed, and fudged plot points include ugghhh Madelyne. Kitty is taken out of her costume and put in a nightgown without explanation.

    Storm, who five issues ago wouldn’t kill a Brood queen, chose to die herself instead and up to this point has had little on panel hand-to-hand fighting training, while constantly written as the Goddess type, goes toe-to-toe with the battle hardened Callisto while infected with Plague and “kills” her. I am not sure Storm’s Morlock leadership is ever mentioned again post-Mutant Massacre.

    Destiny “sees” something powerful, nobody knows what because it’s never made clear.

    Following that from @Teebore we get this gem.

    Mystique experiences a weird dream in which she's hunted like a stag by Jason Wyngarde and Lady Jean Grey, a reference to a similar vision of Jean experienced in issue #126. It'll never be made entirely clear, but it's generally considered that this vision was given to Mystique by Mastermind, and furthermore, that Mastermind is behind pushing Rogue to leave Mystique and Destiny. How those actions fit into the plan that will unfold over the next several issues remains similarly unclear.

    Nightcrawler gives a speech about how he has fought not to be judged by his looks. I guess he forgot all the times he was using an image inducer or just doesn’t want to mention it.

    @Teebore once again gives us this:

    Later, Nightcrawler mentions he's had medical training; whether he's overstating some basic training he's received as part or the X-Men or actually does have some formal training is unclear.

    This is just one issue!

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  28. Continued again…

    I could pick out any issue and find similar continuity problems, dropped plots, unexplained reasoning, etc.

    So was CC really that much better or did people just like the artwork and have fond memories of that era when things were simpler and more by the book (X-Men in mansion with Prof. X)?

    Therefore, my point about picking and choosing which comics to blast feels like nostalgia bias. People feel “warm” about stories they remember fondly from reading as kids or eras they particularly liked and “cold” about ones that rubbed them the wrong way or came as their interest was waning.

    I am just as guilty here, I came to X-Men right about the relaunch and by the Phalanx Covenant, I was over it, while I am sure others kept reading or came to it and enjoyed it. Reading the back issues was so cool and made me love the CC run, but there are definitely holes throughout.

    Who cares though? We love the stories because they are comics fiction and let us dream of cool new worlds. Is fiction better when every last detail is accounted for to make it as real as possible? Yes. Was this ever a hallmark of comics? No.

    I am not trying to change anyone’s mind either, everybody has their favorites and that is great. I just want to hopefully bring up some points that help comic fans appreciate this era exactly because of its difference and the swirling editorial winds. Despite this or, perhaps, because of it we got some good comics.

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  29. @Anonymous: To be fair, what really confused the issue was the Retribution Affair story in Marvel Comics Presents.

    Yeah. I mean, that's my hand-wavey explanation for the lack of a reaction, that Cyclops told Banshee off panel during that story. I'd say that I would like some acknowledgement regardless in UNCANNY, but then again, Banshee getting his powers back in that story didn't even warrant a footnote in UNCANNY, so this isn't surprising.

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  30. @Zephyr: Some of the terrible, missed, and fudged plot points include ugghhh Madelyne. Kitty is taken out of her costume and put in a nightgown without explanation.

    Maddie really isn't a terrible, missed or fudged plot point. I mean, "terrible" is a subjective word, so if you hate Maddie, fine, I guess she's a terrible plot, but there's nothing missing or fudged about her, at least not at that point. Whether you buy Claremont's whole "that she looks like Jean is just a Hitchcockian coincidence" explanation is irrelevant, because he does offer an explanation: she just happens to look like Jean.

    Kitty getting put in a nightgown isn't really a dropped plot point - it's a matter of an off-panel transistion, and I don't think any of us, for any era of the book, are arguing that we need to see every iteration of the characters changing clothes. In fact, if memory serves, in that post I believe I make a joke about how creepy that is, that Caliban apparently stripped Kitty down and dressed her. I'm not saying it's a failure of the issue that we didn't see that, simply pointing out the implication of what the changing outfits means.

    Storm, who five issues ago wouldn’t kill a Brood queen, chose to die herself instead and up to this point has had little on panel hand-to-hand fighting training, while constantly written as the Goddess type, goes toe-to-toe with the battle hardened Callisto while infected with Plague and “kills” her.

    Storm being willing to kill Callisto was part of an ongoing story arc for the character, which culminated in her punk look, her losing her powers, and her transformation into a de-powered but still effective team leader aka the most interesting iteration of Storm ever. The contrast between the Storm of that issue and the one who would rather die than kill a Brood to save herself only five issues ago wasn't a flaw in the story, it was the *point* of the story.

    Storm's fighting prowess relative to Callisto is definitely questionable, though as is often the case with these kinds of fights in superhero battles, Storm's victory can be chalked up to ephemeral stuff like having "the will" to win or fighting to save her friends, moreso than Callisto.

    I am not sure Storm’s Morlock leadership is ever mentioned again post-Mutant Massacre.

    It is. It's definitely a plot element that gets underutilized by Claremont, up to and following "Mutant Massacre", and he doesn't really do anything more with it before leaving, but it comes again. It's at the center of the story in UXM #291-293, as well #325, and is key component to Gene Nation's origin, who are the somewhat problematic main villains for the series post-AoA, pre-Onslaught.

    Destiny “sees” something powerful, nobody knows what because it’s never made clear.

    That's the Beyonder.

    The whole Mystique/Mastermind vision stuff is definitely weird and unclear, a total unresolved Claremont dangler. That said, I'd argue a brief interlude involving two villains never getting any follow up is less egregious than two characters whose entire reason for being in the book is to search out and locate X-Men never actually searching out and locating any X-Men.

    Nightcrawler gives a speech about how he has fought not to be judged by his looks. I guess he forgot all the times he was using an image inducer or just doesn’t want to mention it.

    Except that Nightcrawler made a point, on-panel, of swearing off using his image inducer. After which, he would indeed have been fighting to not be judged by his looks, specifically with Kitty, who was very cold towards him when she first joined the team and disturbed by his look.

    As for Nightcrawler's medical training, my point was just that we don't know what's causing him to declare he has medical training. It was a notation less along the lines "here's an inconsistency!" and more "here's another character trait to watch out for".

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  31. All that said, I definitely get your point. But like I said, good art and good story go a long way towards making it easier to overlook inconsistencies, plotholes, and missed characterization. Paul Smith drew issue #170, and if Claremont wrote a completely incomprehensible script of gibberish and Paul Smith drew it, I'd probably like it. Heck, if 1980s Paul Smith drew Pimp Daddy Masque, Tentacle Jean Grey and Kid Storm, I'd probably love them too.

    So was CC really that much better or did people just like the artwork and have fond memories of that era when things were simpler and more by the book (X-Men in mansion with Prof. X)?

    FWIW my problems with these issues has nothing to do with the atypical status quo - if anything, the experimentation on display is one of the few positives of this era for me. I LOVE the idea of Forge and Banshee searching for the missing X-Men. The problem is, they never actually do that (stumbling across some X-Men isn't the same as actively searching for them). Great idea, lacking in execution. Ditto Kid Storm. I have my issues with that concept, but the overall idea of a weaker Storm on her own facing off against a supremely powerful Shadow King is just fine; I just wish a better artist drew it. The Adventures of Wolverine, Psylocke and Jubilee? Sign me up! Unfortunately, we only really get two issues of that. One of which is great (though more about the Cap flashback than the present day adventures), the other of which is more about a bunch of wannabe GI Joes that never appear again than the title characters.

    Therefore, my point about picking and choosing which comics to blast feels like nostalgia bias. People feel “warm” about stories they remember fondly from reading as kids or eras they particularly liked and “cold” about ones that rubbed them the wrong way or came as their interest was waning.

    Absolutely. Nostalgia is a powerful force. This entire blog is build around it. But it's worth noting that this stretch of issues is right in my nostalgic wheelhouse: moreso than Claremont/Byrne, Claremont/Smith or even Claremont/JRjr, these early pre-'91 relaunch issues are some of the first X-Men issues I ever read, after getting into the series (and comics) in the early 90s. In fact, because issues #262-265 lacked art from one of the Image guys and weren't the first appearance of Gambit, they were significantly cheaper than than a lot of other issues prior to and after them, so I ended up reading them a lot more simply because I had them. Back then as well as now, they still feel like a noticeable step down in quality to everything around them, going back and going forward.

    I just want to hopefully bring up some points that help comic fans appreciate this era exactly because of its difference and the swirling editorial winds.

    I will say, one of the things I do love about this era, from the kickoff of the "Non-team" era up to the 91 relaunch, is the impact of that swirling editorial wind. There's a sense (granted, much of it in hindsight) that something BIG is on the horizon, and while both the lead up to that (these issues) and what follows (a lot of the immediate post-relaunch issues) aren't always the greatest on their own, and while the decisions that editorial makes (ie handing the books over to a bunch of stud artists with questionable storytelling skills who jump ship when a better offer comes along) don't always turn out to be the best, that feeling of something BIG being on the horizon does a lot to energize this era for me, even if the individual stories (here and in the other titles as well) are a lot more hit-or-miss than at other times.

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  32. "Yeah. I mean, that's my hand-wavey explanation for the lack of a reaction, that Cyclops told Banshee off panel during that story."
    Teebore, what I meant was that it was odd that during that serial, we didn't either see Sean ask "How is the lovely lass Jean doing?" or Scott think "I feel guilty about keeping Jean's return a secret". One way or another, it should have been dealt with there, so I don't blame Claremont for wanting to get past it.

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  33. @Teebore

    FWIW my problems with these issues has nothing to do with the atypical status quo - if anything, the experimentation on display is one of the few positives of this era for me...


    Agree on all of this. The thing that sucks about this whole period to me is how Claremont builds up a head of steam and squanders so much of that momentum so quickly.

    And there's so much that DOES work: The Muir Island X-Men are great, Lady Mandarin looks fantastic and has her moments, the Shadow King/Gambit stuff is intriguing if ugly, X-Tinction agenda and the Shiar stuff are both surprisingly fun and fresh, and #273 -- the jam issue -- is a kind of perfect coda for the Claremont era (aside from not QUITE qualifying as a bookend). It's just too bad that there's so much other stuff -- like the Morlock issues -- that blurs the focus.

    Honestly, I think that if I have any unfair negative bias in the way I judge some of these issues, it's because we're getting so close to the end of Claremont's tenure that it gets harder and harder to view the weaker issues as isolated misfires. They just stand out more here. Claremont produced plenty of issues and arcs over the years that didn't work particularly well, but with so few left, I want them all to count. Lack of focus can be easily overlooked deep in the middle of a run; now it's time to deliver. (And yes, I know there was behind-the-scenes stuff getting in the way-- I'm speaking strictly as a reader here.)

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  34. "Yet all I really feel is Uncanny being dragged down to the level of mediocrity of X-Factor and New Mutants during an era I’m not predisposed to care about in the first place"

    I agree with the Blammer. I'm surprised to see people say that this issue is "the best" of the non-team era, when I've always considered it the bottom of the barrel. Any issue drawn by Silvestri trumps it on visuals alone, and the previous issue has elements I love, the redemption of Forge's mistakes in Vietnam and the return of Colossus' armored form (without Peter himself realizing it, which is great).

    Maybe this one is better if you're reading X-Factor concurrently, which I never have. The sudden appearance of Beast and Ship is odd, but I can see it making more sense if one has read that "Peter Nicholas" issue of X-Factor. (Which I alas never have.)

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  35. @Teebore

    All that said, I definitely get your point. But like I said, good art and good story go a long way towards making it easier to overlook inconsistencies, plotholes, and missed characterization. Paul Smith drew issue #170, and if Claremont wrote a completely incomprehensible script of gibberish and Paul Smith drew it, I'd probably like it. Heck, if 1980s Paul Smith drew Pimp Daddy Masque, Tentacle Jean Grey and Kid Storm, I'd probably love them too.

    Classic stuff.

    I do think the Maddie arc is a terrible plot point. It turns out to be "ok" because editorial steps in. But, come on, red herrings and contrived plot points all over the place all whisked away with a few on panel remarks of how she is a different person. Remove your love of Maddie for a second and see how bad that was.

    Storm being willing to kill Callisto was part of an ongoing story arc for the character, which culminated in her punk look, her losing her powers, and her transformation into a de-powered but still effective team leader aka the most interesting iteration of Storm ever. The contrast between the Storm of that issue and the one who would rather die than kill a Brood to save herself only five issues ago wasn't a flaw in the story, it was the *point* of the story.

    What ongoing story arc? It was started here with a bang. If there was some lead up to it, yeah you would be spot on. There isn't, one second she is a goddess, the next she is murking Callisto.

    Ultimately, I think we understand each other. We can nitpick every comic over dropped, contrived plots and terrible plot points. We can argue over which are worse and what in-story explanation or resolution isn’t up to par, but that is mainly just subjective.

    Are 264 on till Claremont’s departure the best issues ever? Probably not by anyone’s standards. Was the execution of storylines handled in the most satisfying way possible? Definitely not, it could have been more clear and pointed.

    However, even with these problems and the compounded effect the editorial interference has on the book, I really like a lot of the Uncanny issues and stories that happen. As you said @Teebore, it does feel like we are pushing towards something big, with an energy that was maybe only present a few other times in CC’s run.

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